Origin of Tibetan Toast Song
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Origin of Tibetan Toast Song

Update: Feb. 26th, 2013

Tibetans are Toasting Wine

In Tibet, wine is not wine anymore, but carrier of etiquette. For example, members in the family will stand in front of gate to present Hada and wine to guests when welcome guests and see guests out. That's the noblest etiquette in Tibet. After taking over wine from the host with two hands, the guest should dip a little wine with ring finger and flick toward sky for three times to toast heaven and worship God, and drink it up after three sips. Later, host will sing songs and dance to toast wine. This kind of scene is just small and simple occasion of singing toast song. When you have Tibet tour, you will see the scene of singing toast song everywhere.

Origin of Tibetan Toast Song

In happy festivals, after assembly or group work, Tibetans will choose a place to drink wine at any places and any time. People there will stand in a circle, with a bottle of wine and 18 bowls with dragon patterns in the middle. Tibetans will dance for a while, and then stop to drink some wine. Sometimes, there is a wine barrier in the dancing circle. There is an elderly waiting to pour wine for others. When dance there, people should drink three cups of wine before passing by. Tibetans will toast wine in turn. They will let people pass by there easily.

The toast song is not only singed for toasting wine. Tibetans will sing songs once drink wine. Tibetans think that "if there is no song when drink wine, the wine is as tasteless as water". Hence, wine and song have become close sisters. They closely coordinate with each other and promote each other. There is an old saying that "you drink fine wine, I will sing beautiful toast song. Both wine and toast song will never end."

Based on some historical data, there was toast song in Tubo Period. It was recorded that there was the custom of singing songs together or invite the person who is good at sing song to perform when Zanpo received ministers, foreign ambassador, as well as on the banquet of ministers. But these songs were not for toasting wine, but for enhancing the banquet atmosphere, boasting prestige, showing off rich and closing communication. It was political at that time. It was a kind of historical song, not pure toast song. In the epic of Gesar King, Zhumu toasted wine, singed song and danced when set them out and welcomed them. That's pure toast song. In the process of spreading, people impromptu made songs and singed when drink wine. Later, these songs formed a series of toast songs.

Tibetan toast songs are with beautiful tone and pleasant to listen to. The contents of Tibetan toast song almost are good wishes and praises. The person who toast wine will sing songs and dance when toast wine. In Tibet, you should either drink wine or sing songs. Tibetan toast songs also invited Princess Wencheng and famous official Gaer Dongzan Yusong to toast wine. Even the person who is not good at drinking wine will take up the cup to drink when hear Tibetan toast songs.

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